Erik ten Hag happy with display in Manchester United’s victory over Arsenal

Bruno Fernandes and Jadon Sancho scored for United.

Simon Peach
Sunday 23 July 2023 07:20 BST
Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag (Nick Potts/PA)
Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag (Nick Potts/PA) (PA Wire)

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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas


Erik ten Hag was pleased by Manchester United’s display in and out of possession as they kicked off their US pre-season tour with a win against fellow title hopefuls Arsenal.

Having beaten Leeds in Oslo and Lyon in Edinburgh, the Red Devils kicked off the main stint of 2023-24 preparations at a sold-out MetLife Stadium in New Jersey on Saturday.

Newly-appointed captain Bruno Fernandes all too easily beat Arsenal goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale before Jadon Sancho struck following an error by Gabriel in a 2-0 win wrapped up by half-time.

“I think it’s very good,” United boss Ten Hag said. “The way we played, I was really pleased, how active we were in and out of possession.

“That is the way we want to play and that is the only period of the year you can really work in training and translate it to games without it having consequences.

“But still, we want to win, and I think the lads showed we played a good game.

“Of course, they are all great games. We have to go and it helps us to progress and especially those opponents, they are good.

“Arsenal is a really good opponent. They played incredibly good last season in the Premier League, so yeah, that’s good to match with them, then you will be better.”

The main negative was the second half injury to Amad Diallo, who left MetLife Stadium on crutches with his left foot in strapping.

There are more youngsters with us now and they’re all doing very good. But I don’t want to rise expectations too high

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag

Ten Hag will be hoping the youngster has avoided any kind of significant injury on a night when 18-year-old midfielder Kobbie Mainoo produced a promising performance.

“It’s fantastic,” the Dutchman told MUTV. “Manchester United is famous for always bringing young players up and it can be done. But we have to see.

“We have confidence, he is playing with confidence and I really like his performance. But this year, he showed it in spring, then he got injured. We are really happy.

“There are more youngsters with us now and they’re all doing very good. But I don’t want to rise expectations too high.

“We have to see. The Premier League is tough but, definitely, you can see we have some really good young players who can play a role in the squad. But the bar is high.”

United continue on to San Diego, where their reserves take on Wrexham before the first team faces Real Madrid in Houston and Borussia Dortmund in Las Vegas.

Arsenal beat the MLS All-Stars 5-0 in Washington DC on Wednesday night and head to Los Angeles to take on Barcelona looking to bounce back from losing to United.

Barca had to cancel their Saturday friendly against Juventus as “a significant part of the Blaugrana squad has a viral gastroenteritis”.

An Arsenal spokesperson said they are in close contact with the LaLiga champions and fully confident their match against them will take place as planned on July 26.

Mikel Arteta is hoping for a response from his squad, saying after the loss to United: “Yes (this is a good lesson for us).

“You asked me yesterday about my thoughts on how difficult or easy the season is going to be.

“It’s going to be more challenging, more difficult, the level and preparation of the team is excellent and we knew today, they had already played two games before this one and we knew the test was going to be really demanding, like it’s going to be on Wednesday against one of the best teams in the world.

“I don’t like losing and I don’t like the feeling that I have right now.

“So, the boys have to train right now, in that space thinking how we are going to be better to win the next match.”

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